Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jan. 26: Let's try to be positive....

Today's Moncton Times and Tribune was annoying for its lack of news, it's self-righeous posturing by Norbert Cunningham, and an op ed column by Rod Allen notable only for its laboured attempt at humour.

Cunningham contrubutes a typical Cunningham column in which he says that politicians lie. Well, some do . But the self-righteous Cunningham and the Irving media he works for have lied with them every step of the way. Both politicians and most of the journalists in this province are under the same ownership. And both lie because the ownership wants them to lie. But don't expect Norbert to tell the truth about that.

So let's be positive. What should be in the paper?

1. I would really like to know what the development plan is for Moncton (and for Riverview and Dieppe). I mean a real plan, one that starts with the conditions we are likely to live under two or three generations from now.

Will the automobile still be the major means of transportation? If so, we don't need a plan. We already have a city designed for that, with malls for the cars, and with car-dependent developments spreading out into the boonies.

But what if the car can't be the major means of transportation? What if the cost of fuel becomes prohibitive? What if it is at last recognized that exhaust pipes are not really a great idea? Then what happens to the new Moncton High?  And what happens to Riverview - which is essentially just a poorly designed parking lot with houses in the way?

And if we can  no longer move most people by car, what is our plan for moving them?

How will we heat houses? Will energy become so expensive - and maybe so scarce - that we will need to legislate efficiency standards - starting now?

A high proportion of Moncton housing is wooden - and aging. Should that be replaced by more plexes built to look like farmhouses of 1900? (The current wave of new apartments convey the impression that the only qualification to be an architect in Moncton is owning a ruler and a pencil. Will that be the standard for the future?)

As it is, our planning for the future starts by ignoring the future. It starts with somebody wanting a new hockey rink to be paid for by the public - and then the city council and the TandT get out their pom poms to lead cheers for building it by saying it will revive Main Street. (It won't.) The only planning that's going on here is planning on how to sell this idiocy to us.

So exactly what is the plan? And let's start the plan with looking at the future - not with some get-rich-quick scheme to benefit some devloper and hockey team owner.

2, As we face the problem of a huge, provincial deficit, it would be useful to know exactly what money we are getting - and from whom - and exactly what we are spending - and for whom.

How much is our government spending every year on goodies for private corporations? Which private corporations?  It is, after all (and as the editor of the TandT said just recently) our money.

Exactly how much in taxes do these corporations pay back to us? (No. Not the taxes paid by their whole work force - the taxes paid by the Irvings and the Ganongs and the McCain's and the top execs.)
What is their nominal rate of tax? What is the tax rate after all the loopholes are figured in?
How can our finance minister possible have serious discussions with the public about the deficit if we're not allowed to know one of the crucial factors in creating the deficit?

3. When are we going to get a report on the handling of the two cases (at least) of shale gas companies that broke the law? I haven't heard even the apology that our government said so much about.

Where are the regulations? If we don't even have them yet, how can we possibly allow exploration to go on? This is like suddenly relizing we have no laws for driving - and so we let everybody drive a car, anyway - children, drunks, speeders. The only difference is that roads full of children,
 drunks and speeders would probably not do nearly so much damage as would unregulated (or even regulated) shale gas drilling.

This is a province dominated by people who are greedy without limits, who give not a damn about what happens to anybody else, and who control most of the levers of power. This is a province that is not a democracy,and is nowhere close to it. If we don't wake up soon, today's deficit will be the least of our problems.

When one thinks of all that we need to know and discuss and decide on, The Irving papers aren't news media at all. They're sleeping pills. And the journalists who work for them should be ashamed of themselves.

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